the rope has not been pretensioned (re spooled under load) then you risk
spinning all the rope on the winch drum, likely snapping off the
locator screw and then you have a useless winch until repaired and re-spooled
under load (pretensioning).
Most good and informative 4WD accessories
shops will actually tell you this but sadly if this is not said and it's not
common knowledge to most people, it does say in the instruction manual but if
you are like me it will likely not get read through the entire way.
reason for a electric winch re-spool is after a winching session where your rope or
cable may be all jumbled up.
It's then necessary to pull all the rope out or
most of it (leaving at least 8-10 spools on the drum of course) and do a
re-spool. If you don't and it's a real mess you risk rope burns, shock loads
and squashing you cable (if you have cable that is).
Now you know why so here is how:
this video for a detailed crash course in re-spooling the electric winch:
a slight to medium uphill slop with at least 50 m of space, either use a second
vehicle as an anchor or use a tree, if no uphill slop can be found a gentle
consistent push on the brake can mimic a hill.
When ready unspool all the rope
apart from 8-10 rolls on the drum to avoid tearing off the location screw.
is best done as a two man job as you will need to guide the rope/cable neatly
on the drum.
For safety reasons use blankets so passer-by’s can see the rope
easier, the load on the rope and winch will be minimal but as always take
your signals agreed on as it can be hard to hear the person at the winch
calling out and check the anchor point is not moving in the case of using a
While winching use the old 30secs on and 30secs off to preserve you battery
amps even with this little load on and of course have the winching vehicle
running or the vehicle battery could soon be completely drained.
During every 30sec break check the winch drum to see how neat the progress is
going and unspool if necessary.
Once you reach the final 5 -10 meters the job of pretension is done and the
rest can be feed by hand.
Midnight winch not a time you want winch rope or cable problems.
More tips for electric winch re-spooling and
At each 30sec interval slack off the winch rope a little.
If steeping over the rope or cable steep on it so that your private parts are
never in danger, things can go wrong before you know it and rope or cable in
the low groin region is not something anyone would want!
If using UHF still agree on hand signals as dropping the hand held radio is
quite easy to do when fighting the rope.
Use gloves especially when it comes to cable, a Frey from a cable is nasty to
More information about winching here:
4x4 Vehicle Winch General Rigging.
Advanced 4x4 winch rigging and full Winch kit.